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PM Modi arrives in Kabul, to inaugurate Afghan Parliament built by India

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Kabul on Friday during which he is expected to hold talks with Afghan leadership, including President Ashraf Ghani, and inaugurate the Parliament building which has been constructed by India at a cost of USD 90 million.

Modi who flew in the wee hours from Moscow, where he had annual summit talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, was received by Afghan National Security Adviser Mohammad Hanif Atmar and deputy Foreign minister Hekmat Karzai.

External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted:

From Russia to Afghanistan. A pre-dawn arrival in Kabul begins a day of engagements w/ another ‘dost’

— Vikas Swarup (@MEAIndia) December 25, 2015

PM @narendramodi received on arrival in Kabul by NSA Atmar, Dy FM Karzai and Afghan Ambassador to India Abdali

— Vikas Swarup (@MEAIndia) December 25, 2015

On his arrival Modi said, “delighted to be in Kabul among friends. Will meet Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah and former President Hamid Karzai”.

Modi will be holding talks with Afghan leaders on key bilateral issues, including security co-operation and discuss the ways to help war-torn country where India has committed over $2 billion in assistance. The prime minister will also be inaugurating the Parliament building and expected to address the Afghan lawmakers.

The Parliament building project, which was initially conceived at a cost of $45 million, was started by India in 2007 as a mark of friendship and cooperation to help rebuild Afghanistan.

Situated between historic landmarks King’s Palace “Darulaman” and the Queen’s Palace — the building has elements of Mughal and modern architecture and has Asia’s largest dome as its key feature. The building will house the Wolesi Jirga (Lower House) with a seating capacity of 294, a 190-seat Meshrano Jirga (Upper House), besides other facilities like conference hall and press room.

Prior to  Prime Minister’s visit, India has delivered three Mi 25 attack helicopters to Afghanistan, in what is seen as a shift in its strategy towards the strife-torn country.

Defence sources said that three such choppers have already been delivered to the Afghan government, which will boost its capability against Taliban terrorists.

While Afghanistan has repeatedly sought India’s support in beefing up its military’s fighting capability in terms of machinery, India had shied away till now. The development came after the recent visit of Afghan National Security Adviser Mohammad Hanif Atmar to New Delhi. Afghanistan has till now been dependent on the US air support in its operations against the Taliban.

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French government urges Russia to immediately release Navalny

He also informed Putin that France’s own analysis had confirmed Germany’s conclusion that Navalny was poisoned by Novichok “in contravention of international norms on using chemical weapons”.

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French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday urged his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to urgently shed light on the “attempted murder” of opposition figure Alexei Navalny after French tests confirmed the use of the Novichok nerve agent, the Elysée said.

Macron told Putin in telephone talks that it is “imperative that all light be shed, without delay, on the circumstances of this attempted murder and who is responsible”, the French presidency said in a statement.

Read: Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny detained after landing in Moscow

He also informed Putin that France’s own analysis had confirmed Germany’s conclusion that Navalny was poisoned by Novichok “in contravention of international norms on using chemical weapons”.

Putin, for his part, told Macron that it was “inappropriate” to make groundless accusations against Russia over the suspected poisoning of Navalny, the Kremlin said.

The Russian leader said his country wanted Germany to hand over medical test results taken from Navalny, according to a Kremlin readout of the call.

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Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny detained after landing in Moscow

Russian prison service said he was detained for multiple violations of parole and terms of a suspended prison sentence.

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Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was detained at a Moscow airport after returning from Germany on Sunday, the prison service said.

The prison service said he was detained for multiple violations of parole and terms of a suspended prison sentence and would be held in custody until a court makes a decision in his case.

Mr. Navalny, who is President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent and determined foe, had spent the previous five months in Germany recovering from a nerve agent attack that he blamed on the Kremlin.

Mr. Navalny decided to leave Berlin of his own free will and wasn’t under any apparent pressure to leave from Germany.

The prison service made the announcement after the flight carrying Mr. Navalny landed in the Russian capital, though at a different airport than had been scheduled. It was a possible attempt to outwit journalists and supporters who wanted to witness Mr. Navalny’s return.

The prison service last week issued a warrant for his arrest, saying he had violated the terms of suspended sentence he received on a 2014 conviction for embezzlement. The prison service has asked a Moscow court to turn Mr. Navalny’s 3 1/2-year suspended sentence into a real one.

After boarding the Moscow flight in Berlin on Sunday, Mr. Navalny said of the prospect of arrest: “It’s impossible; I’m an innocent man.”

The Kremlin has repeatedly denied a role in the opposition leader’s poisoning.

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13 Israelis suffer facial paralysis post inoculation

“For at least 28 hours, I walked around with it (facial paralysis),” one person who had the side effect told Ynet.

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Jerusalem, Jan 17 : At least 13 Israelis suffered mild facial paralysis as a side effect after receiving the first Covid vaccine jabs, the Health Ministry said, adding that the count could be higher.

The officials have raised questions on whether or not to administer the second dose to these individuals the Health Ministry had recommended for the second dose, reported the Jerusalem Post.

“For at least 28 hours, I walked around with it (facial paralysis),” one person who had the side effect told Ynet.

“I can’t say it was completely gone afterwards, but other than that I had no other pains, except a minor pain where the injection was, but there was nothing beyond that.”

As for receiving the second dose, he admits he is undecided, but says that “it is important to note that this is something rare, and I don’t want people to avoid getting vaccinated – it’s important”.

“I recently came across, for example, someone vaccinated who was dealing with paralysis, and decided not to give her a second dose,” Galia Rahav, Director of the Infectious Diseases Unit at Sheba Medical Centre told Ynet.

“It is true that it can be given according to the Health Ministry, but I did not feel comfortable with it.”

She added that, “No one knows if this is connected to the vaccine or not. That’s why I would refrain from giving a second dose to someone who suffered from paralysis after the first dose.”

However, the Health Ministry has assured of the second dose only when the paralysis passes, Ynet reported.

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